The Innovator Award supports visionary individuals who have demonstrated exceptional creativity, innovative work, and paradigm-shifting leadership in any field including, but not limited to, breast cancer. The Innovator Award will provide these individuals with the funding and freedom to pursue their most novel, visionary, high-risk ideas that could accelerate progress to ending breast cancer. Because the intent of the Innovator Award mechanism is to recognize these remarkably creative and innovative visionary individuals, rather than projects, the central feature of the award is the innovative contribution that the Principal Investigator (PI) can make toward ending breast cancer. The PI should have a record of challenging the status quo, shifting paradigms by changing a field of research or approach to patient care, exhibiting high levels of creativity, and demonstrating promise for continued innovation in future work. These rare individuals will be able to articulate a vision for ending breast cancer that challenges current dogma and demonstrates an ability to look beyond tradition and convention. The PI is also expected to be established in his/her field and have demonstrated success at forming and leading effective partnerships and collaborations. To further the development of innovative individuals and spark the generation of novel ideas, applications are required to incorporate the mentoring of promising junior investigators. Experience in breast cancer research is not required; however, the application must focus on breast cancer, and the PI must maintain a 50% dedication of his/her full-time professional effort during the award period to breast cancer research. This professional effort in breast cancer research can be through a combination of this award and other current support. Individuals from other disciplines who will apply novel concepts to breast cancer are encouraged to submit. The PI is expected to assemble a research team that will provide the necessary expertise and collaborative efforts toward accomplishing the research goals. The PI’s research team must include two or more breast cancer consumer advocates. As lay representatives, the consumer advocates must be individuals who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are actively involved in a breast cancer advocacy organization. Their role should be independent of their employment, and they cannot be employees of any of the organizations participating in the application. The consumer advocates should have a high level of knowledge of current breast cancer issues and the necessary background or training in breast cancer research to contribute to the project. Their role should be focused on providing objective input on the research and its potential impact for individuals with, or at risk for, breast cancer.
Considering the current breast cancer landscape and the BCRP’s vision to end breast cancer, each FY17 BCRP Innovator Award application must address one or more of the following overarching challenges. Alternatively, with adequate justification, applications may identify and address another overarching challenge related to the breast cancer landscape. Justification must be provided in the application.
• Prevent breast cancer (primary prevention)
• Identify determinants of breast cancer initiation, risk, or susceptibility
• Distinguish deadly from non-deadly breast cancers
• Conquer the problems of overdiagnosis and overtreatment
• Identify what drives breast cancer growth; determine how to stop it DoD FY17 Breast Cancer Innovator Award 4
• Identify why some breast cancers become metastatic
• Determine why/how breast cancer cells lie dormant for years and then re-emerge (recurrence); determine how to prevent recurrence
• Revolutionize treatment regimens by replacing them with ones that are more effective, less toxic, and impact survival
• Eliminate the mortality associated with metastatic breast cancer